Category Archives: Brand

100 Years in Vogue


There’s an exhibition on at Manchester Art Gallery showcasing some of the greatest photography in the world, called 100 Years in Vogue.

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If you like photography – you’ll love it.

If you like fashion – you’ll love it.

If you’re an art director – you’ll love it.

If you’re a graphic designer – you’ll love it.

If you’re a fashion designer – you’ll love it.

If you’re a textile designer – you’ll love it.

If you’re a magazine/layout designer – you’ll love it.

If you’re an illustrator – you’ll love it.

If you like art – you’ll love it.

 

I’m not really into fashion, (no shit, Sherlock), so I guess it appealed to the art director in me.

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“The exhibition brings together vintage prints from the early twentieth century, ground-breaking photographs from renowned fashion shoots, unpublished work and original magazines. Images by leading twentieth-century photographers, including Cecil Beaton, Lee Miller, Irving Penn and Snowdon will feature alongside more recent work by David Bailey, Corinne Day, Patrick Demarchelier, Nick Knight, Herb Ritts and Mario Testino.”

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But you’d best get your skates on, it finishes on the 30th October!

(Oh, and it’s free in.)

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Things for which I am grateful #365/365.


Some folks might think this is a bit of a cheat. I started with my kids and I’m going to finish with them. In my defence, I have two of the little rascals so I’m counting it as one post apiece.

There is nothing more precious to me on this Earth than my two daughters. Anyone who has children will know that something changes inside of you – chemically, biologically – and nothing else seems to matter.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to every parent, and true, the pesky varmints do get on your nerves a lot of the time. And yes, they bicker constantly. And they manage to talk in a stream of consciousness James Joyce would be proud of. But, when all’s said and done, they don’t outweigh all the adorable moments. I simply couldn’t live without them.

It’s been an epic year of blogging. Thank you for sticking by me and I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

Right, I’m going for a lie down.

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Here are my 365 things that I am grateful for:

1 My daughters

2 Water

3 Poetry

4 Baths

5-7 Notebooks, pens, pencils

8,9 Butterflies and moths

10, 11 Softball and baseball

12 Fresh coffee

13 Sound / masts

14 Indoor toilets

15 Stepping Hill Hospital

16 Birds of Paradise

17 Roget’s thesaurus

18 Mother Earth

19 Clingfilm dispenser

20, 21 Yorkshire pudding and onion gravy

22 Jorge Luis Borges

23 Classic cars

24 Curry

25 Tim Berners Lee

26 Charles Bukowski

27 Yorkshire

28 Shiraz

29 Food

30 Katell Keineg

31 Tao Te Ching

32 A roof over my head

33 Peat fires

34 Street art

35 Friends (as in – mates, not the T.V. show)

36 Wilfred Owen

37 The Penguin Café Orchestra

38 The fry-up

39 Wolves

40 W.B. Yeats

41, 42 Cherry blossom trees and haiku poetry

43 Bread

44 Boules

45 Maps

46 Refuse collectors

47 Candy Chang

48 Sparrows

49 The tomato

50 Studio Ghibli

51 Oliver Jeffers

52 Johannes Gutenberg

53 Tom Waites

54 The cello

55 Mothers’ day

56 The Phoenicians

57, 58 Bacon and brown sauce

59 Tulips

60 Fish and chips

61 Giselle

62 Airfix

63 Firefighters

64 Rain

65 Libraries

66 Raymond Carver

67 Toulouse-Lautrec

68 The Goldfinch

69 Wings of Desire

70 Silence

71 Elizabeth Barrett Browning

72-99 Ireland

100 Talking Heads

101 Sylvia Plath

102 Yorkshire Sculpture Park

103 My mum

104 Modigliani

105 Kurt Vonnegut

106-128 Electricity

129 The pop man

130-147 Comedians/comedy

148 Commando magazine

149 Pastry

150-156 Social media

157 David Bowie

158 Football

159 D-Day

160-194 France

195-230 Novels

231 Graphic Design

232 Viva! Roxy Music

233 – 274 Art

275 Betty Blue

276 Writing

277 Joy Division

278 – 287 Scotland

288 – 324 Italy

325 – 352 Photography

353 Leeds Utd

354 Love

355 Universe

356 Advertising

357 Pan’s Labyrinth

358 – 363 Democracy

364 Miscellaneous

365 My daughters II

If anyone wants to read any of the previous posts simply type the title into the search box on the right. (It’s underneath the ‘topic’ cloud.)

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Things for which I’m grateful #356 – Advertising.


Yes, advertising. Nike,1990s,UK It’s hard to think of an industry more vilified by the general public than advertising. With the possible exceptions of bankers and estate agents. Oh, and insurance companies. We’re all wankers in the public’s eyes. It’s true that I’ve met quite a few charlatans in my time but I’ve also met lots of lovely people whom I admire, respect and have maintained long-lasting friendships. Advertising has given me many happy years coming up with ideas for stuff. Then having them bludgeoned to death by account handlers and clients. I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with some fantastically talented directors, photographers, illustrators, writers and art directors. I’ve also had the good fortune to have gone on the odd exotic TV shoot. come-along-gentelman In my 30 years in the ad industry I reckon I’ve only had three decent jobs out of about – actually, I genuinely can’t remember how many jobs I’ve had. The three best agencies I’ve worked for were BRAHM in Leeds, Owens DDB and Chemistry, (both in Dublin). They probably account for about 10 out of my 30 years in advertising. That’s a long time spent working in crap agencies. Of course, young hipsters will think someone like me is past it. I’ve heard a few digital johnnies bleating on about how traditional advertising doesn’t engage in a dialogue with consumers like online media can. Bollocks. As soon as you get a customer thinking about your ad you are engaging in dialogue. Whether that’s via the medium of television, press or on a billboard. Think_Different_poster_billbernbach Just because you have the capacity for a customer to literally respond to your message on social media doesn’t mean you’ve entered into a dialogue with them. In fact, judging by the mass majority of offer/promotion-based ads on social media, I would argue that this is monologue, not dialogue. The key to a successful engagement with a customer is to have an idea that resonates with what’s going on in their life. Without an idea, you have nothing. And, what digital johnnies lack is the ability and experience to come up with big advertising ideas. Of course, there have been one or two great online campaigns. (Old Spice springs to mind.) But not enough. And ad agencies today need to go back to the old ways of doing things but with today’s media and technology. Is it just me, or is there a dearth of good advertising around? interbrew-sheep-small-51151 Advertising is very simple: A great idea should contain two things: An insight into your target audience and a brand/product truth that will match the consumer insight. For example: If only everything in life was as reliable as a Volkswagen.

  1. A) ‘If only everything in life…’ = Life is full of ups and downs (consumer insight).
  2. B) ‘…was as reliable as a Volkswagen’. = If all else fails, you can rely on your Volkswagen. (Product benefit).

A + B =     Ta-dah! (Told you it was simple.) It’s often overcomplicated by people using big words to make themselves look more intelligent who try to portray it as a science. Great ideas come from great propositions. Here are a few straplines from yesteryear, when advertising was great. See how many you can match to their brand. (And they’d all translate brilliantly to online media.)

  1. Probably the best lager in the world.
  2. The world’s favourite airline.
  3. Think different.
  4. I bet he drinks…
  5. Good food costs less at…
  6. It is. Are you?
  7. …refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach.
  8. Australians would give a … for anything else.
  9. Beanz meanz …
  10. The Ultimate Driving Machine.
  11. Just do it.
  12. Vorsprung durch technic
  13. Reassuringly expensive
  14. It’s a new toy every day.
  15. We try harder.
  16. Happiness is a cigar called…
  17. The cream of Manchester.
  18. Hello Tosh, got a…
  19. You know, when you’ve been…
  20. I smoke ‘em, cos my name’s on ‘em.

That doesn’t mean that every ad campaign needs a strapline. (The Economist being a good case in point.) What a great strapline does is encapsulate the client’s strategy, which each individual concept/execution has to fit into for consistency of message. cream-of-manchester   So my advice to any young whippersnappers out there thinking of a career as an art director or writer is, whatever you do, don’t rock the boat. Tip the fucking thing over. There are too many safe-sailor-suits and bland-brand-bosuns as it is. N.B. None of the examples of great work I’ve shown here are mine.

Addendum:

Of the places of work I have really enjoyed working, I would have included TBWA Manchester – a really great team of people and a cracking account to work on. But, as I was only there a wet weekend, it seemed a bit of a stretch to include it. For the all too brief period of time I was there, I enjoyed every minute of it.

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The Boating Party with Sean Hayes


Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881. By Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

The Boating Party is a series of interviews with writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, sculptors, illustrators, designers and the like.

In times of economic hardship, the Arts are usually the first things to be axed. But, in my view, the Arts are one of the most important aspects of our civilisation. Without the arts, we wouldn’t have language or the written word. Without the arts, we have no culture. Without culture, we have no society. Without society, we have no civilisation. And without civilisation, we have anarchy. Which, in itself, is paradoxical, because so many artists view themselves as rebels to society.

To me, artists aren’t rebels, they are pioneers.

And perhaps, most importantly; without the Arts, where’s the creativity that will solve the world’s problems? Including economic and scientific ones?

In this interview, I am delighted to welcome Irish creative director, Sean Hayes.

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Who inspires you?

People who have discerning minds.

 

What inspires you?

A belief that everything is malleable. Nothing is set in stone.

 

What was the last thing that inspired you?

Rupert Sheldrake’s banned TEDx talk on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKHUaNAxsTg – t=1088

 

What makes you unhappy?

Misunderstanding.

 

What makes you happy?

Understanding.

 

What are you reading?

‘Who Owns the Future?’ Jaron Lanier.

 

Who, or what, are you listening to?

The rain.

 

What’s your favourite film?

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey

 

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

December 5th 1975. Bob Marley and the Wailers in concert at the Lyceum Theatre in London to witness the recording of one of the greatest live albums ever – Bob Marley and the Wailers LIVE!

 

What frightens you?

People who do not possess discerning minds.

 

What do you do to relax?

I take photographs. It’s a form of meditation for me.

 

What do you do when you’re angry?

Anger is fear in stealth mode. Deal with the fear and the anger vanishes.

 

What can’t you live without?

Oxygen. Family. Friends. In that order.

 

What’s your motto?

Say simple things in unexpected ways.

 

Where is your Utopia?

West Cork, Ireland.

 

If you only had one year to live what would you do?

Spend the year visiting and thanking all the family, friends and folk who have loved and supported me in life and apologize to those where I failed to return their love and support.

 

Up who’s arse would you like to stick a rocket, and why?

Sepp Blatter. (Swiss football administrator who serves as the eighth and current President of FIFA). Blatter represents everything that is perverse with the prevailing corporate culture of winner-take-all. He exudes a deep sense of unquestioning entitlement and is mindlessly corrupt.

 

Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?

Scarlett Johansson.

 

What are you working on at the moment?

Increasing my understanding of the world and everything in it.

 

What is your ambition?

To love and be loved.

 

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

Throw the Internal Combustion Engine onto the ash heap of history. It has stunted the development of cleaner and more sustainable energy sources because the Petrochemical conglomerates make vast fortunes from oil and actively suppress technologies that challenge their hegemony.

 

Which six people would you invite to your boating party?

Elon Musk (Business Magnate, Inventor, Visionary), Rupert Sheldrake (English author, lecturer, and researcher in the field of parapsychology), Scarlett Johansson (Elevator repair person), Graham Hancock (British writer and journalist), Linda Moulton Howe (American investigative journalist and ufologist), Nick Cave (Musician and author).

 

What would be on the menu?

 Ideas.

 

What question would you have liked me to have asked?

Hy-Brazil – a mythical island off the west coast of Ireland – appeared on nautical maps from 1325 until it’s disappearance from seafaring charts around 1865. Why? A great mystery.

 

Thank you, Sean.

To see more of Sean’s work click on any image to go to his Tumblr site.

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Sean Hayes’ biography:

I’m an advertising Creative Director with over 25 years experience of planning, creating and executing marketing campaigns for European, American and Japanese brands. In 2010, I started taking pictures of the world around me with a newly purchased iPhone. I haven’t put it down since. All the images in my gallery have been shot and processed using my smart phone. Preferred subjects to photograph are portraits and landscapes. My photographic work has been exhibited in galleries and exhibitions specialising in mobile photography in Brussels, Milan, Miami, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

I was a runner-up in the Landscape category of the global Mobile Photography Awards 2013 and was awarded 2nd place in the People category of the same competition in 2014.

Links:

http://seanski50.wordpress.com

http://seanmobilephotos.tumblr.com

http://seanmobileportraits.tumblr.com

 

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#231/365 Graphic Design


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Milton Glaser

To me, there are two schools of thought when it comes to graphic design: the Conceptual and the Aesthetic.

I’m a firm believer in the former. I studied graphic design at Jacob Kramer College of Art in Leeds in the early to mid 80s. Before computers were even invented! Well, maybe not invented. But certainly not in use in the industry at the time. We had to create everything by hand.

It is only with a concept, an idea, that we can engage the viewer’s neural pathways – which helps them remember the message you are trying to convey. Whereas, the purely aesthetic, is superficial.

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Herb Lubalin

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that conceptual design shouldn’t be aesthetically pleasing – it should have both. It’s just aesthetics alone are not enough. We need to create windows, not wallpaper.

Here are a few examples that contain the Smile in the Mind. Smile in the Mind is when the concept requires the viewer to complete the circle. To interact with the idea for it to have meaning for them.

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Graeme Cooper Photography

Graeme Cooper Photography

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Cycling poster

 

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Airfix – #62/365


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Seeing as though we’re on the cusp of a third world war, I thought it might be interesting to talk about toys that glorify war.

In the olden days, we didn’t have X Boxes or PSPs. We had to make do with eating coal and playing on’t road with plastic figurines for entertainment. I had hundreds, if not thousands, of these tiny Airifx soldiers.

Airfix Mountain Troops

But, unlike the meticulously crafted dioramas that you see in model shop windows, my battlefield was the living room carpet. Cushions for mountain ranges and my mother’s ornaments for barricades. I wiled away many an hour pitting German stormtroopers against American marines. Or Japanese infantry versus British paras. And sometimes it was a free-for-all with Napoleonic cavalry and American Union soldiers thrown in to spice things up a bit.

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My love of war wasn’t limited to reenacting battles – I was also partial to building second world war model aeroplanes too. When I got bored with them, or they got damaged, like when the props or undercarriage fell off, I’d “borrow” my mother’s lighter and set fire to them and throw them out of my bedroom window, imagining them in a dogfight during the Battle of Britain.

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I thought it might be interesting to do an ad campaign that promotes these “old fashion” toys to a present day audience. What these toys lack in graphic depiction they make up for in the users ability to improvise and use their imagination. Not to mention the necessity to apply strategy – not that prevalent in your average shoot-em-up console game. Games that merely lead the user down a labyrinth of computer code rather than require said user to think creatively.

I used the illustrations that Airfix actually commissioned for their packaging, which I’ve always thought were brilliant, because that is exactly how you imagine it whilst playing.

Now, I know it’s not particularly PC to promote toys that glorify violence, but it was a large part of my childhood during the 60s and 70s and I derived huge amounts of pleasure from it. And I turned out okay, didn’t I?

I can’t hear you…

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Things I am grateful for #19


Bit of a cheat this one as I posted it a couple of years ago. But it’s still on my list of things to be grateful for.

Baco Clingfilm Dispenser.

I don’t know about you, but I’m rubbish at DIY.

I once bought a TV cabinet from IKEA and on the instructions it said assembly time: 45mins.

Five and a half hours later, I was in floods of tears and reaching for the paracetomol and a bottle of vodka.

Even less complicated tasks such as wrapping a packet of boiled ham up in clingfilm, to me, are more daunting than working out the puzzles on the Krypton Factor. (Younger readers might have to Google that.)

It’s hard enough trying to peel back the plastic on the boiled ham in the first place, without then having to perform microsurgery on a roll of plastic thinner than a layer of your own skin.

In the past, it usually resulted in the opened packet of ham lurking at the back of the fridge with curled up brown edges or having to eat the entire packet in one sitting.

Now that I have younglings, the frequency by which I have to preserve a multitude of fresh foods has increased dramatically. Whether it be a half eaten mango, half a wedge of cheddar or my own stash of pork and onion paté, it doesn’t matter. The fact is, I have to face my nemesis on a daily basis.

Then, suddenly…

Cue: A chorus of Angels heralding from on high.

…there came Baco.

A clingfilm dispenser from the gods.

Simply put your [insert food item here] on your kitchen work surface.

Place the Baco clingfilm dispenser next to said food item.

Pull the clingfilm out of the dispenser until you reckon you have enough to safely secure your food’s freshness. (This bit isn’t an exact science, but if your clingfilm looks like a handky on an elephant’s backside then I suggest you air on the side of caution until you get the hang of it.)

Close the lid of the Baco clingfilm dispenser to slice off the required amount of clingfilm and Hey Presto! Simply fold it around your precious bounty.

Job done.

No tears.

No reams of wasted clingfilm.

No mummified fingers.

No divorce proceedings. Well, not for curled up boiled ham, anyway.

What is it they say about necessity being the mother of all invention?

(Though, I do miss eating a whole packet of boiled ham in one sitting.)

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